New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

The past two years have been tough on all of us – I haven’t met one person that hasn’t been affected in some way. From transitioning to working from home full-time to figuring out vaccine schedules and learning more about mental health needs to experiencing polarizing political conversations, we’ve endured so much in the past two years. It can be tough trying to figure out how we’re going to make it through this pandemic without scars.

It seems like every segment of this pandemic brings us something new, as it’s impacted almost every aspect of our lives. We’ve witnessed an incredibly volatile presidential election and transfer of power; we’ve watched the heavy debate around vaccines; we’ve seen our economy fluctuate; we’ve said goodbye to thousands of people. It’s hard to imagine a world post-pandemic sometimes because of how disruptive it’s been to our lives.

I don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to share some of my own tricks and hacks as a New York City resident. Everyone is different and has personal levels of pandemic practice, so please take my recommendations with a grain of salt, and feel free to personalize these ideas as you see fit and as they pertain to your own individual practices.

1. Take advantage of talk therapy

I recognize that I’m incredibly lucky that my talk therapy is covered by my insurance. It’s incredibly helpful that I have someone to talk to on a weekly basis (it’s virtual, too!) – sometimes we chat about how the pandemic is affecting me, while some weeks the topic doesn’t come up at all. I see my weekly therapy appointments as regular maintenance. There are some months in my life when I feel in control and steady – it’s nice to talk with my therapist during these times because she can see me when I’m confident and in a good place. There are other weeks when I struggle, either with work, relationships, money, or even just my energy levels. These weekly check-ins help stabilize my moods, force me to reflect on what I can do better, and to identify areas that I need to work on. I’ve been able to overcome a lot of barriers and hurdles in my life from simply going to therapy once a week. I understand it’s not for everyone, and I also recognize that I’m lucky to have access to this kind of mental healthcare, but I’ll recommend this practice to anyone that is looking to improve themselves.

2. Helpful to think ahead

Sometimes it seems like we’ve been frozen in time, hasn’t it? So many of my days seem to blur together, and it so often feels like every day is the same. Beyond family visits, I haven’t planned anything for myself in two years. It feels too risky to book a vacation, only to get excited about it then have to cancel due to another variant. This has had me in a weird, dark place as I think about my future. Will we be doing this two years from now? Will all my days be identical a year from now? This kind of repetition has given me a lot of anxiety and stress, so I’ve tried to look for a solution that can help with this kind of gloom. Instead of planning for trips or vacation, I set personal goals for myself instead. Because I’m not spending as much money on travel, dinners, or events with my friends, I’ve been able to save a lot of money the past two years. With that realization, I’ve started to create monthly goals for myself, most of which are financially related. When I paid off my student loans last year, thanks to the interest pause and saving so much money, that gave me the idea to keep thinking ahead. I now have a goal that I want to reach for my 401K, a figure I want to hit in my savings account, and I’m starting to put aside some money for a major vacation once this is all over and done with (whenever that is!). Having these goals gives me something to work towards AND something to look forward to.

It’s important to remind yourself that you’re not alone – we’re ALL going through this time together. We all have different and unique struggles, so check in with your loved ones, but also be sure to check in with yourself. Make sure you’re giving yourself what you need!

Category : Stay in New York

Yikes, I forget how tough February can be in New York City. The days can chill you to your bones, and this is the time of year I feel a bit sick of the dreary days. While I love staying inside and being cozy during this time of year, I also start to feel a bit antsy. I start to crave longer days, warmer temps, and higher energy. It’s tough trying to figure out what my options are when we’re still trying to figure out this pandemic stuff, so I figured I’d share with you some easy ideas that will still keep you entertained and safe at the same time. The weather is always a hit-or-miss factor in deciding what you want to do, but I’ve come up with a few interesting ideas that can keep your mood up and without breaking your wallet.

1. Ice Skating – Central Park, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center

I know this is pretty standard and expected when you think about New York City in the winter, but it’s kind of a perfect solution. Not only does this activity get you outside in the fresh air, but it’ll get your body moving with fun exercise. Whether you’ve got your own skates or need to rent, these parks will have you covered no matter your skill level. Since we’re still in a pandemic, the outdoor setting will keep you safe. (I still recommend bringing and wearing a mask, vaccinated or not.) You’ll also be able to meet tons of new people while you’re practicing your ice skills, so be sure to bring your best English talents so you can share and trade tricks with your new friends. Bonus: these parks are surrounded with plenty of amazing restaurants so you can warm up and recharge no matter where you decide to go.

2. Broadway

This is an activity that I’ll flag as “use caution.” Because this particular option is indoors and you’ll be surrounded by dozens of people, be sure to check your theater’s rules for vaccinations and masks. Depending on your status, you’ll need to check out their guidelines before going. As Broadway starts to ramp up again in as we continue to sift through the pandemic, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of these shows, just in case another strict lockdown is on our horizon. If you’re looking to get your English skills some practice, spend some time with the Playbill before the show, and do your best to translate the spoken English on stage in your head. After the show, grab dinner with your friends and share your favorite parts – in English!

3. Hit the spa

Okay, so this activity isn’t completely for just February, but I wanted to include this because I’m realizing just how important self-care is these days. It’s been a tough two years in New York City, thanks to the pandemic. I’ve spent more time indoors these past 24 months than I have probably my whole life. I’ll admit that I don’t work out as much, I don’t eat the best foods, and I’m definitely not drinking enough water. It’s hard to take care of ourselves when the world is so uncertain these days. So to ensure that I’m treating myself from time to time, I take myself out for a massage about once a month. Not only does it give me something to look forward to, but it physically helps me relieve built-up tension from stress. If a spa isn’t your thing, figure out what will help you “reset.” Maybe it’s a library day, or perhaps it’s a night you treat yourself to your favorite dinner. Either way, it’s so crucial to ensure you’re taking care of your well-being. This could be something you do independently or with friends so you can keep your mood positive and your outlook optimistic.

February is a tough month overall – the days are short and cold, and it can be tough to be optimistic for warmer days ahead. I try to beat my seasonal sadness by getting out of my apartment for walks and Vitamin D, I chat with family and friends as much as I can, and I make sure my schedule has enough things to look forward to – I recommend doing something similar and finding things that make you happy, active, and entertained. We’ve still got some time working through this pandemic, but in the meantime, make sure you’re still tending to your mental and emotional health.

Category : Stay in New York